ANKARA (AFP)–A top Turkish diplomat will travel to Switzerland and the United States to seek their support over an Armenian court ruling that Ankara says threatens deals with Yerevan to normalize relations, a foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
Feridun Sinirlioglu, undersecretary at the ministry, “will visit these two countries in the coming days to express our concern” over the ruling last month by the Armenian constitutional court, spokesman Burak Ozugergin told reporters.
Ozugergin told PanArmenian.net that Sinirlioglu would meet with Switzerland’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Michael Ambul, on Friday, February 5. “Bilateral meetings of this kind, focusing on bilateral relations, carry regular character,” he said, adding that details of the talks will be relayed to the press “later.”
After months of Swiss-mediation and U.S. encouragement, Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols in October 2009 to establish diplomatic ties and reopen their shared border, in a historic step toward ending a decades long blockade of Armenia illegally errected by Turkey in the early 90s.
But the process hit the rocks after the Armenian court upheld the legality of the protocols, but underlined that they could not contradict Yerevan’s official position that the Armenian Genocide must be internationally recognized.
Turkey accused Yerevan of trying to rewrite and set conditions on the deals. Armenia’s President and Foreign Minister have warned that the rapprochement is under threat of collapse.
Ozugergin said Ankara maintains its desire to build better ties with its eastern neighbor. There is no problem in Turkey’s Armenian opening. But Armenia has a problem with its Turkey opening,” he added.
The reconciliation process is also complicated by Ankara’s insistence that normalizing Turkish-Armenian ties depend on a resolutionon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan.